Manga, Manga Reviews, Reviews

Kuroko’s Basketball Review


I haven’t read a whole lot of sport titles before now so it’s always good to start a new one. Kuroko’s Basketball was getting a ton of hype back in the day and I can definitely say that it is well deserved. I don’t see this one being surpassed as the definitive Basketball title. That means that for sports we now have definitive titles for Tennis, (Prince of Tennis) Football, (Eyeshield 21) and Basketball. (Kuroko’s Basketball) While I have read titles for other sports I am hesitant to say that any of the others are the definitive versions yet. I think Whistle does have a strong case for Soccer though. Kuroko’s Basketball is definitely an excellent title either way and one that I highly recommend.

The series starts off by introducing us to the concept of the Miracle Generation. This was a legendary group of Basketball players who were seen as invincible throughout middle school. However, they disbanded after that with every member going to a different high school. One such member is named Kuroko and he decides to finally re-enter Basketball. He ends up getting on a team that has been pretty good over the last few years while at the same time not being in the same league as the top high schools. He figures this is a pretty good time to step out of the shadow of the more experienced members and finally prove himself. The other main character is Kagami who comes from America. He doesn’t know much about the Miracle Generation and doesn’t really care anyway. He just wants to be the best and leading this high school to the championship is his chance to test his skills. Can Kuroko and Kagami raise the school to new heights?

Kuroko may be one of the miracle generation but in terms of shooting ability he is easily the weakest member of the team. That’s because his specialty is passing and he focused on this completely to the point where he became the best passer of all time. It’s also an interesting trade off because his vanish passes only work because of his lack of talent. He is able to erase his presence on the court and to everyone else it’s like he appears out of thin air. If he were to get better at the game then he wouldn’t be able to pull this off since people would notice him. The whole plot is actually handled extremely well.

Throughout the series you wonder why he doesn’t just practice more to work on his shooting. Of course getting better isn’t that easy, but he’s got a super supportive team so it makes sense. The answer is pretty obvious, but still delivered well and makes for a good twist. It’s something you know in the back of your head, but it still comes across as a surprise which in my mind means the execution was spot on. It’s a little tough for Kuroko since he is not able to get back at the other members directly, but through Kagami he is able to get wins and that’s the big picture goal anyway.

Kagami is basically sharing the main character status with Kuroko and is a really good lead. He’s more of a classic main character type who is always ready for a game and strives to be the best. He’s super competitive and is filled with confidence. I think he plays a large part in why the manga is so good. In general the cast is pretty strong in this series, but even among them Kagami is one of the standout characters. His duels with Aomine in particular are really solid and I’m also glad that he doesn’t back down even when the villains decide to get physical. One such moment is when he steps up to the main villain and manages to dodge the stab attempt from point blank range. Without Kagami the team would be doomed and he brings the fiery energy that you need on the team.

He also gets quite a few arcs during the series as well. As the best player he naturally has a lot of unique burdens on himself as well. One is that if he is losing the 1 on 1 battle the whole team loses motivation and he knows it. That adds a lot of extra stress. Another part is where it starts to get to his head and he just wants to beat the whole team on his own. I think the tough part there is that there’s some truth to this approach. If he doesn’t take on the whole team then they may lose, but at the same time it stops the other players from growing. There isn’t really an easy answer here. Still, ultimately he recognizes his status as the ace while also being a team player.

Hyuga is one of the main members of the team and effectively he serves as the captain. His deal is that he’s usually nice, but sometimes a switch gets flipped and he becomes super rude which also makes him a better shot. It’s an unique dynamic although I never really became a fan of his. He’s pretty useful since he can land the 3 point shots consistently and keeps the team together. Hyuga is the “mostly” calm mind you need on the team to keep everyone balanced even if it doesn’t allow him to become one of the more exciting characters.

Izuki is the eagle eye of the team who has his eye on the ball at all times. He’s good at landing the steals, but in comparison to the other members I wouldn’t say his role is massive. You do feel his presence though and as most of the characters get a rival on different teams, Izuki does have his big moments. Izuki’s a very balanced member of the team and I’d say that he rounds out the cast pretty well. He’s a fun character.

Kiyoshi joins the cast a little later on, but makes a good difference once he is in. He’s a good bodyguard that the team needed and definitely goes through quite a lot. I dare say that he has the most painful journey from all of the heroes and certainly experienced loss more as well. He’s another solid character and while he never became the all star, he keeps up with Kagami a lot better than anyone else on the team.

Riko is the team coach and has a special ability where she can look at everyone’s stats. It’s a fun enough ability although it never becomes too handy. The reason for this is because even when she knows that their team is outclassed it doesn’t seem to matter much. She just tells them to play harder, but almost never goes into the strategy of it. Her more useful skill is the accelerated healing which allows a player to go back in even after surpassing his limits. That one’s definitely real handy.

Then we have the other members of the miracle generation. First up is Kise who is the copycat of the group. He can learn and stela anyone’s finisher move and use it against them. He’s probably the least intimidating member of the OP players, but by the end of the series he’s definitely top 3. I’d still put Aomine and Akashi above him, but I think he could take down any of the others. He’s easily one of my favorite antagonists and is a good rival character. He seems to have the quickest growth out of the main characters so in a sequel I could see him claiming the top spot.

Midorima is another top member and his big skill is that he can hit 3 point shots from any range with 100% accuracy. In theory I feel like that should make him the most deadly member, but I suppose you need the all around skills to really succeed. The other members just tend to overwhelm him with pure power. Perhaps if this was a 1 on 1 he would have better luck but at the same time the others would probably steal the ball a lot. Midorima is fun, but not nearly as solid as the other big villains.

Aomine is my favorite character in the series and really steals the show in every scene he’s in. He’s the original rival but somehow manages to still be one of the strongest characters in the series. By the end he is arguably the third strongest Basketball player still and I like to think that he could still beat Kagami and Akashi. He really knows how to go into the Zone which basically becomes a mandatory skill by the end of the series. Without his coaching Kagami definitely wouldn’t have been ready for the end. His plot is also the most sympathetic since he got so good that the games became boring and nobody wanted to even play with him. It’s tough being the best and naturally he took that to mean that maybe he should stop practicing. That does make sense to stop growing stronger and the fact that Aomine is still one of the best shows just how dangerously good he is.

Murasakibara probably gets the least amount of screen time from the miracle generation. He’s also got the worst attitude of the group and doesn’t even enjoy Basketball the way that the others do. The gang shows him the light here, but he really only played basketball because he was so good at it. He’s really tall which helps a lot for fundamentals and from there his natural skills just helped him jump to victory. I can’t say that I ever became a fan of his. I was definitely rooting for Akashi when they had their big fight. Murasakibara’s skills are the real deal, but in a series where you have so many great characters he just can’t keep up.

Akashi is the main villain of the series so you can definitely guess that his ability is going to be more OP than the others. For the most part the series tries to stay reasonably realistic. Even the various super powers like the vanish throw try to at least throw some logic into the mix to explain how Kuroko is able to accomplish such a feat. I dare say that the author barely tried with Akashi’s though. He’s got 2 personalities and with a glance he can knock you to the ground. Then he is also able to see through all techniques and is pretty close to unstoppable. He does make for a good villain though and is another figure who was ultimately overcome by the pressure that was placed on him. You definitely need a villain like him around to make the game more exciting even if he isn’t quite as cool as Kise or Aomine. The dual identity thing reminded me of Sensui though and was handled pretty well.

Koganei steps up to the plate towards the end of the series for the main characters. He’s not terribly talented, but he does have a big drive to win. This helps make up for the talent and win or lose he always tries his best. He even went up against the main villain and while you knew he was doomed from the start it was a pretty worthy effort. I also liked the idea of getting him in the mix. Even if you aren’t amazing in general every game is different so being able to do some damage makes sense. I could see him getting more of a role in a sequel.

Takao is a fun character from one of the opposing squads. Similar to how Kuroko has Kagami in his corner, most of the other Miracle Generation fighters have a second in command as well. Takao is good at blocking Kuroko’s surprise passes and is definitely a very competent player in his own right. He may not be on the level of the Miracle Generation, but he can hold his own. Imayoshi is one of the craftier opponents. He’s always got a plan and knows when to take a support role instead of trying to be one of the main characters. This guy helps fill out the team pretty well.

Then you’ve got Himuro who used to be rivals with Kagami back in the day. That made his team pretty unique in that it had two members who were able to keep up with the main guy. That being said, I didn’t like him nearly as much as the other players. I feel like the issue with him is that he loses the mental game the whole time. He blows up at his old coach and throughout his game with Kagami he feels pretty petty. If he was able to bring in a good fight without doing all the extra tricks then that’d be good, but otherwise you just feel like he isn’t quite dedicated enough for this level yet.

Now it’s time to look at the rest of Akashi’s team. Unlike the others every member of his group is a heavy hitter. First up is Reo, an intimidating three point shooter. He doesn’t miss and has a variety of moves which makes it very difficult to block or evade his shots. He’s definitely not one of the more interesting villains, but he makes for a good rival. Then you’ve got Kotaro who is able to dribble very quickly. It’s definitely a less impressive ability than most, but it does mean that stealing the ball from him is really hard. Moreover, he is actually able to even overwhelm Kagami with this ability briefly which is no small feat. Usually the backup members don’t get to mess with Kagami, but this guy welcomed the challenge.

Then you have Nebuya who is the power hitter of the group. He is able to hold his own physically against Kiyoshi and if we’re being honest he is definitely stronger than that guy. In a one on one fight he won’t be losing to him and his raw power also makes it difficult for Kagami to stop him as well. The guy has a lot of pride in his play and is definitely one of the more enjoyable members of the group. Finally you have Mayuzumi. He’s not very interested in Basketball but is manipulated by Akashi into joining the fray anyway. He wants to be a good player in his own right, but Akashi’s plan is for him to effectively be just like Kuroko. The cost of this would be that he can never stand out though so you can see why he wouldn’t want that to be the case.

There are definitely more characters of course, but these are the main standouts so check out the manga to take a look at the ones I skipped. It’s an excellent read from start to finish. One factor that really helps is how good the artwork looks. The artist is really able to illustrate just how intense these games get. All of the characters are drawn consistently and the art only gets better and better as the series goes on. While there are a small handful of characters who look a little too similar the artist does a good job of differentiating the characters otherwise.

One of the best parts of the series is when we’re first introduced to “The Zone” as well as when Kagami is first able to enter it. It’s a pretty great super form that makes the game even more intense. It also has solid limitations like only being able to use it for a few minutes to prevent this from being completely broken. The way it is implemented is pretty fair if you ask me. It’s naturally also veering away from the more realistic aspects of the other series, but that’s fine.

I think another impressive part of the series is just how much time is spent on the court while still developing the characters. The only other series I’ve seen with such an amazing balance would be Prince of Tennis and while that is still my favorite sport title, I would have to admit that this one has the stronger supporting cast. It’s actually fairly tough to make all of the main characters likable. Even titles like Black Clover and DBZ run into some trouble there. You can’t make every character great, but since on the field the main 5 characters will constantly be around it was important that the series made sure they were good.

One thing that I’m sure everyone was waiting to see from the start was how the Miracle Generation used to be. Honestly it would make for a fun prequel, but as it is we did see some of their wins through flashbacks near the end of the series. They are every bit as overwhelming as you would expect and are absolutely merciless. It makes sense that they wanted to split up after that since it’s a lot more fun to fight people on the same level than to just steamroll everyone in your path.

Overall, Kuroko’s Basketball is definitely a great title to read. It works both as an amazing sports title as well as a great story of comradery. The basketball games are pretty long so there’s a lot of time for proper character development and team adaption during the games. There’s a lot to love about this title and there are really no negatives. Whenever the next volume would arrive I’d dash through the whole thing. The series never has any slow moments and if anything it’s all just gone too quickly. I highly recommend checking this title out. You’ll definitely be glad that you took the plunge. Now I’m ready to read the quick sequel, it’ll be fun to see the characters one last time.

Overall 9/10

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Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Men In Black: International Review


All right gang, it’s time to look at the Men in Black’s latest outing. It’s definitely a franchise that pretty much everyone is familiar with although it hasn’t been the most consistent of titles. The first film was really good and the second was still solid. The third one was a pretty big dip in quality though and this one is more in line with that. It’s a decent movie, but one that you probably won’t bother to see twice.

The film starts out with a tease with Agent H and T heading off to fight the Hive. The scene ends real quick though so you never get to see the fight, thereby making it a bit of a waste of an intro. The scene wasn’t bad, but the sudden ending just invalidates the whole thing. We then cut to a flashback taking place before the intro which was also a flashback. We’re introduced to Molly who managed to escape having her memory wiped since everyone thought she was asleep. She then makes it her life’s mission to find the MIB. After tracking them down and being recruited she is given her first assignment. Agent M is to work with H and what should have been a routine escort mission quickly becomes a planetary crisis. Is M ready for this?

First off, the script is pretty solid. I do like the fast paced banter with the leads here. This style of humor’s been working pretty well for Chris’ various cinema characters lately and Agent H is no exception. He’s always got a comeback for everything and the rest of the characters follow suit. One good example of this is Pawny who takes every opportunity to take shots at H. While not all of the insults will land there are quite a few solid ones in there. One involves referencing how H was choked which was the ultimate comeback. There’s no counter to that. There is a whole lot of comedy in the film, but it rarely gets annoying. At most you’ve got some laugh scenes that last too long or too many jokes in a small time frame, but with the writing it didn’t really feel like an issue.

I think where the writing breaks down is how MIB just feels more about spectacle than realism here. I’m sure there are issues with them you could nitpick in the earlier films too, but here they’re just very apparent. One is how the heroes constantly show off the alien tech everywhere. There’s one scene where H and M quickly blast a few humans with the memory wiper, but ignore the hundreds of other people in the area. I guess there’s no time to blast them all, but then it’s almost pointless to blast the few. Molly’s whole origin story is pretty telling on how easy it is to avoid the MIB. I feel like more people should know about them at this point. As for a total nitpick, the train scene is a little odd. This is a secret MIB train that only the agents know about so why does it keep changing from an MTA train to a sci-fi one? Once it’s already underground with aliens boarding I don’t see the purpose in keeping it transformed except for the shock value scene of spooking M.

The film is also very predictable. To an extent most films are, but some just feel more telegraphed than others. This one is like Captain Marvel in that respect (Maybe it’s just a sci-fi thing) but you’ll be able to predict all of the twists before they occur. I won’t even hint at the main twist, but the instant one character brings up the possibility you just know that it’s a certainty. Then there’s one character who appears for an instant near the beginning so you know it’ll tie in later on. They say that the destination doesn’t matter and it’s all about the journey so if we take that as true then this wouldn’t really hurt the film. Honestly I don’t hold predictability against a movie since I do think it’s all in the execution. It wouldn’t hurt to mask what’s going to happen a little better though.

Now for the characters. I think Chris Hemsworth is quickly becoming like Tom Cruise or Dwayne Johnson in that he’s quickly becoming an actor who is playing himself rather than a character. There’s a debate to be had on whether that’s a good thing or not (Hint, it’s usually a good thing) but regardless it makes for H being a pretty entertaining character. He definitely has his share of iffy moments and he goes a little too far in being the irresponsible lead. You can see what the film is going for with the character, but I think he plays the trope a little too far. Now, the film does open the door to an explanation for this, but the film only halfheartedly entertains the idea and never goes through with it. Unless we actually get a sequel this will just be something for fan theories and headcanons so I can’t give him a pass. He’s an entertaining character, but definitely not a heroic one.

M is pretty solid. She’s definitely his polar opposite as she has lived her whole life just to join the MIB and as a result has no real life. This is almost a bit tragic to be honest, but I always like when a character has a one track mind like this. She’s a quick learner and while she isn’t as quick to think on her feet, she does have a lot of general knowledge on aliens and such. M has done her research so she adds some brains to the operation. She fills in her role pretty well.

Agent C is also a solid character. He’s thrown into one of those roles where he’s made out to be the annoying figure in the film, but that’s all if you look at it through the main characters’ lens. If you think about it objectively he is just doing his job and doing it well I might add. Every action he takes makes sense and it’s also perfectly understandable why he is a little jealous about how H gets to break all of the rules. I liked him quite a bit. Then you’ve got Agent T who is the classic boss type character. He’s pretty stern and down to business. A solid character all around, but naturally I liked him best during the flashback opening where he was a field agent.

As mentioned earlier Pawny is mainly here to crack a lot of jokes. He does come in handy on many occasions though and I think a good comic relief character needs to know when to step up. Pawny did just that and as a result he is a very complete character. He easily could have been a very annoying one so I think we got to give him some credit for avoiding that fate. Then you have one of the villains named Riza who is around for a quick fight scene. I do like the idea of a 3 armed fighting style and thought the fight was pretty well handled. Her actual plot wasn’t though. I won’t say much here, but keep in mind that her island is known as a lair of certain death and is the toughest place in the cosmos. So…why doesn’t she have more guards or security so people can’t literally strut around the place? Everything’s connected to one lever??? You’re gonna be suspending a lot of disbelief here.

There are also the two villains from the trailer who can turn into a space like vortex. They have cool designs and I like the moveset, but the film doesn’t give them a whole lot to do. In a way they just feel like they’re filling in space which is never what you want to happen. I think so much more could have been done with them, they don’t even really get named by the end of their appearances.

The special effects are definitely on point. There are a lot of scenes where the movie gets to show off the energy effects and such. There aren’t too many fights, but I did like the first action scene which took place in the city. The city’s always the best backdrop and as I mentioned the villains’ powers have good visuals attached to them. There were even some Terminator influences here with how they could manipulate metal. Then the soundtrack is superb as always. The main Men in Black theme is just really good and tends to fit in with everything. It makes any scene feel a lot more intriguing automatically.

Overall, Men in Black International was pretty reasonable. It’s a good film, I just wouldn’t call it very good. I think it’s a nice example of a film that didn’t necessarily do anything wrong (No animal violence, no excessive violence, the script was reasonable, etc) but it doesn’t really stick out. There are films that tackle the same subjects and plots that just handle them a lot better. This movie is the kind of title that makes for a fun experience at the theaters or watching at home the first go around, but there’s not a whole lot to say about it afterwards. You’ll enjoy it, but then move on to the next thing. There’s nothing great about it or super good in general. Still, I would recommend checking it out. Honestly, just being an enjoyable film isn’t such a bad thing. It wouldn’t be the first title I’d check out, but if you just want to watch a nice movie with some action scenes then this will be up your alley.

Overall 6/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

X-Men Dark Phoenix Review


It’s time to look at the newest X-Men film. The trailers for this one were looking pretty sharp from the start so it had the potential to be the best X film. Of course, the films haven’t had the best track record. X-Men The Last Stand was really solid, First Class and X2 were also pretty good, but the original X-Men and Apocalypse were not so good. Still, the Fox universe has basically been buried so they’d want to go out on a good note and I’d say that they did. Not only is this the best X-Men film of them all, but it can hold its head up high against the other big comic book movies out there.

The film starts off with a flashback as Jean gets into an accident with her parents and we see Xavier bring her to his school. We then cut to the present where the X-Men head into space to save some astronauts and Jean Grey absorbs part of the Phoenix Force. Her abilities start to go out of control and once she starts causing a lot of damage the team is forced to decide if they can still save her or if she’s still too far gone. At this point, is she really still Jean Grey or just the malicious Phoenix?

Dark Phoenix doesn’t waste any time in ramping up the tension. (It is called Dark Phoenix for a reason after all) The film’s pacing is quick from the start and builds a very good atmosphere. The soundtrack is stellar here (Jean Grey’s main theme is definitely the best one) and that’s always important. It’s easily a contender for one of the best soundtracks in a CBM. Certainly top 5. Dark Phoenix is a very serious comic film, it’s got the same vibe as the amazing DC titles Batman V Superman, Man of Steel or even the older ones like The Dark Knight. There are a lot of traumatic events for all the characters so there is rarely a time for them to catch their breath.

My favorite scene in the film is the fight between the “Save Jean” and “Destroy Jean” factions. It’s a pretty local level fight as it’s a 4 v 4, but team battles like that are always the best. I also am glad that the fights weren’t ties and there were no cop outs here. One side was clearly beating the other and it was the correct team. One side was simply way more stacked than the other. That was the main fight of the film, but in the climax we also get to see the heroes take on the villain zombies. Those guys can’t really fight back quite as much so it’s more one sided, but I do think the film did a good job of making them more of a threat than the average expendables.

The villains don’t get to appear much in the trailers so I’ll stay vague on who they are and what the goals are. I do think that they were nerfed a bit by the end though. They seem to be able to move your organs and crush your body with a light grasp or even with mental abilities. They seem to forget about this ability by the end of the film, but it would have been a handy way to destroy at least some of the X-Men. Most of the members could be defeated by the villains if you ask me.

Most of the characters look really solid here. Mystique has really grown into her role as the X-Men leader. While I was on Xavier’s side with the rocket decision over hers, I am glad that Mystique is always looking after the team. She sees the big picture more than the others do. Cyclops is definitely really good here as well. He’s still a teenager as opposed to being the X-Men leader like in the old films, but he never doubts Jean for a second. He’s on her side from start to finish and that kind of devotion is definitely accurate to his character. His optical blasts are also given a lot of respect here and he doesn’t hold back at all when attacking.

Unfortunately Storm doesn’t look very good here. I do think they did her personality justice here as she is a lot more aggressive and eager to fight. The problem is that she is portrayed as being pretty weak to be honest. She loses most of her fights and seems to let her guard down. I’d like her to look stronger in future appearances. Nightcrawler is a reasonable character, I just never liked him much. He doesn’t seem very proactive compared to the others although he does finally get a homage to his knife combo scene from the old films.

Beast has a pretty big role here. He definitely takes the early events hard and makes a controversial move to make things right. I don’t think anyone would claim that he’s making the heroic move here and even he knows that. Still, considering what happened you can definitely see why he’s making the choice. I find him to be pretty weak though and he rarely does a whole lot of damage. Quicksilver only appears for a few minutes tops here as the writers were probably scared that he would end the whole film in a minute. Unfortunately even then there is at least one time where he could have saved the team but didn’t. This is the problem with making a character so overwhelmingly powerful.

Jean Grey is the lead so lets talk about her for a second. Naturally she’s fighting with the Phoenix the whole time so she’s not always in her right state of mind. She tends to be a little oversensitive to everything so everybody triggers her. She can go into murder mode at the drop of a hat. It helps add more nuance to which side you’ll end up choosing. All in all, I thought she looked pretty good though. She may have been a bit gullible during some of the scenes and trusting villain groups is rarely a good choice. Still, I think the film did a good job with handling her as a villain here.

The star of the movie as always is Magneto. He’s been a really great character during the trilogy and he steals all of the scenes here. While he is not as powerful as the Phoenix I dare say that he is the second strongest mutant at this point. He’s the only one who can actually fight back compared to the others. He’s had a very complete character arc by this point and while he is drawn back into the battle, it’s nice that he had finally found peace. The fact that this is the third movie does help quite a bit since by now all of the characters are established so it’s easy for us to understand all of the character motivations.

Xavier is another big character of course. He definitely makes some key mistakes in the film. Xavier is definitely still one of the good guys from start to finish, but his problem is that he just doesn’t see any of his mistakes. He seems to think that he’s always on the right side. It’s a good quality to have as a leader since you have to believe that your cause is just, but part of the blame here can definitely be thrown over to him. Still, at the end of the day he does what he can to remedy the situation. He does feel a lot weaker here though as other telepaths can hold their own against him. He’s definitely not the Omega level mutant you might have thought he was.

I think some characters who may be overlooked, but shouldn’t be are Magneto’s teammates. I actually really liked both of them even though we never even get to know their names. One of them can fight with his hair and from how he was wrecking one of the X-Men members he is a considerable threat. The guy’s super loyal and was always quick to get into battle. The other is a telepath who was holding her own against Xavier and even causing him to back up. Their back and forth battle of wits was really solid and she was one of the best characters in the film. I’d put her second only to Magneto. I don’t have many qualms with the film, but one of them is that these characters get the shaft. I don’t think their endings were deserved and they should have done more. They were loyal followers to Magneto and the fact that he has given mutants a place to live really makes it a powerful moment. These guys are ready to put their lives on the line for Magneto because he has finally helped the mutants out once and for all. I’d argue that he’s made a safer existence for mutants than Xavier ever did.

The ending of the film is incredibly forced though and doesn’t really make any sense. There’s not a whole lot I can say about it since I don’t even want to spoil any part of it, but it really only happens for drama. It’s the kind of ending that you’d expect and so the film delivers on it, but there’s no narrative reason why it had to happen. The character could have chosen any other option and it would have worked rather than this desperate move. The other paths would have also made for a more entertaining ending. An ending is important, but it’s not like it’s horrible either. The final part of the final scene at least salvages what it can.

Part of why the film is good is naturally the writing. A dynamite soundtrack and excellent special effects go a long way, but at the end of the day you need solid writing to keep the film operating at a high level. This film probably has the best script that I’ve seen since Batman V Superman. (Infinity War also deserves a nod although it’s a very different kind of script) You’ll be engaged right away. They do squeeze in the Fox trope of adding one F word of course which is annoying as always. The film mirrors the X-Men comics to the extent that there is a lot going on at all times. There are many plots and characters in the mix and they’re all being affected by the events in the movie. You’ve got some symbolic imagery like Magneto putting his helmet back on to return to the darkness and Xavier taking his off as he decides to go back to acting as a friend to the others rather than as a commander. The characters are all acting on pure emotion by the end so it’s easy to pick any individual character and root for him/her. It’s a very thought provoking film that also includes a lot of action so you don’t have to worry about choosing one or the other.

It’s always hard to do a very serious film without getting super dark and gritty so I’m always impressed when it happens. It’s part of why I’m going to miss Fox, they really did add a nice element to the mix. For a while we had a solid balance with DC giving us supreme movies with the best action scenes and scripts, Marvel with the most comic book accurate movies and a light hearted tone like the days of ole, and then Fox which was a very realistic take on how humans would interact with super powered fighters. DC has gone away from their approach to follow Marvel and Fox is all but over after this one. Now the only company who will still be doing their own thing is Sony which does carry part of that Fox feel within, but I can’t say that I trust them as much as I would the others. Granted, Fox churns out a lot of misses too so you just gotta keep swinging til you connect. At least now we can finally have the Avengers vs X-Men film someday although I don’t imagine something like that would happen til 2025 or later.

All in all, this is the big finale that fans of the X-Men series have been waiting for. It’s the definitive X-Men film and it’s going to be really hard to top this one. The only thing that would have made it feel even more like a finale would have been for Wolverine to have shown up for the final fights. We probably won’t be seeing any X-Men films for a very long time as I doubt anyone would even want to try and follow up on this so soon. All series have to end at some point and the goal is to end on a high note. Dark Phoenix does that and then some. It basically excels in all areas and has a lot of replay value. If you haven’t seen the film yet then I’d recommend heading out to the theaters and checking it out. You probably won’t be seeing another one like this for quite some time.

Overall 8/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Poseidon (2006) Review


It’s time to look at the remake to the original Poseidon film. It’s a pretty faithful remake although it does take its own twists and turns. The basic plot and resolution are unchanged, but the movie takes some liberties with the characters. I’m always up for that since a word for word remake doesn’t have a whole lot of point if you ask me. We’ve already seen it once so throw in a few wrinkles if you’re gonna do it again.

The film starts off with all of the characters getting on the Poseidon boat. They are looking forward to a nice relaxing cruise. All of the characters are here for different reasons. Some are literally along for the ride while others are here for the excitement. One guy even came here to die. Well, all of their plans go haywire when the boar is struck by a powerful wave and goes upside down. While most of the people on the ship decide to stay in the lobby since the pilot thinks they’ll be okay, Dylan has other ideas. He aims to get off the boat right away by going to the bottom which is now on top. Robert decides to follow him because his daughter is trapped in one of the rooms up ahead. There are 2 main plots here since half of the main characters are trapped and the others are trying to get to him.

With ensemble casts the main thing the film has to get right at all costs is making the characters good. Fortunately this one is able to pull that off. I won’t say that I liked all of the characters, but it was definitely a strong cast. We also get a good amount of time to each plot and the film manages to keep up the tension the whole way through. The length is basically perfect as it doesn’t end too soon nor does it drag on. I dare say that the writing may have even been better than the original’s. I definitely did enjoy it more than the first although it is pretty close. I just think this one was able to take advantage of the modern effects more which really helps for a local disaster film like this one.

Seeing the wave hit the ship is just handled really well. In general the rooms of the ship all look very realistic and the explosions are handled well. You can tell that no expense was spared on this film. I’m also glad that nobody randomly brought a pet on board as that would have hurt the immersion. The film also doesn’t really dwell on the violent scenes here. There are a ton of fatalities of course since almost everyone dies but while you see the bodies and such it is never too gruesome. The film focuses on the story and getting the characters through this.

Robert is the main character if you ask me although it’s meant to be pretty debatable. He’s a solid lead and I was definitely on his side with the Jennifer debates. While he might prefer to take the cautious route he definitely does whatever it takes to find her once Jennifer goes missing. Robert’s a very intelligent character who makes the right moves and is a natural leader. Without him the group would have definitely been in trouble. Then you’ve got Dylan who is the other side of the coin. He’s quick to think of plans and is physically able to get things done that the other characters would not be able to do. Robert’s the one who convinces the others to jump on board while Dylan thinks of the plans first. He is able to look at everything objectively and Dylan was definitely my favorite character. His character was just handled perfectly.

From the side characters Jennifer and Christian were definitely a lot weaker than the others. It was pretty insensitive of them to be constantly flirting when Robert was just trying to get a few days to relax. Jennifer was also wearing rather risque attire just to mess with him. (Well in her defense it seems like she was oblivious, but considering how quickly it happens after the last scene it’s hard to take seriously) Christian doesn’t really get anything to do. It is pretty impressive that he was able to swim so well after being pinned under a bunch of debris for so long though.

Richard is the old man of the group and he came close to jumping overboard near the beginning. This disaster helps him learn to keep on fighting, but what may hurt how much you like him as a character is when he sends someone else off to their doom. Keep in mind that Dylan was encouraging him, but ultimately Richard is the one who made the choice to kick the guy off. Since that chef was the one who suggested Richard go first it was a really big betrayal. He never saved himself from that.

Elena started out real good, but started sinking later on. Elena snuck on board the ship, but is one of the first to try and help once Christian is pinned down. She seemed like a really nice character and definitely was a good supporting one although she also had a tendency to get scared a lot and did nearly cause the team to die on several occasions. Maggie is solid as well but is more consistent and does a good job of hanging in there even while her son is constantly messing up. Conor is definitely pretty terrible imo, but the kids rarely end up ranking for me. They just hold everyone back and running out on everyone near the climax was extremely foolish.

Then you’ve got Lucky Larry who I guess was a slight homage to the Texan from the first film. Either way Larry looks really bad here. He just shows up to taunt the heroes quite a lot and then dies as soon as you would expect. If anything he’s just here for some grim humor although I’d say he was handled well. There’s almost no way you’ll like the character, but that’s basically the point. He’s no hero and he’s not going to get any noteworthy scenes. He’s just here to cause trouble and slow everyone down.

Overall, Poseidon is definitely a fun film. It’s the kind of fast paced disaster film that really holds up well. There’s a lot of replay value here since the scenes don’t drag and something is always happening. Even from a pure visual perspective I’m sure there is a lot here to re-watch. If you haven’t seen this film yet then I recommend checking it out. As long as you like a good action title or just enjoy a solid ensemble film then you’ll like this one. Naturally it’s the kind of film where not everyone survives so you can also try and make some predictions on who will make it.

Overall 7/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Flash Gordon Review


It’s time to look at the legendary Flash Gordon movie. This is definitely a retro sci-fi film that pretty much everyone has heard of at this point. It’s definitely a pretty good movie that’s aged pretty well. Despite the film mainly having a light tone some parts do get pretty dark which is that rare back and forth you don’t see as much nowadays. I’m definitely cool with that, but basically Flash Gordon really gets around and tackles the sci-fi genre from all sides.

The film starts with Flash and Dale on a flight. Unfortunately their plane goes down thanks to some fire hail and a weird storm that came out of nowhere. They meet up with a crazy scientist named Zarkov and he forces them into a ship with him as the 3 head towards the planet of the invading alien race. The guy definitely is crazy and a villain as he forced them in, but I suppose at the very least you do have to give him some props for actually being right here. It all was an invasion and all those years he was right for worrying about it. No excuse though. Now these 3 unlikely heroes have to save the world or die trying!

Flash is definitely a fun hero. He’s basically the classic lead you would expect from a classic action film. He may not have any professional experience, but he’s got natural leadership skills and is quick on his feet. The scene of him using football skills to take on the villains was definitely pretty fun. The guy’s confident and also nice to a fault. If anything you may get frustrated with how forgiving he can be at times, but that’s just how he rolls. Flash is here to save everyone and he’s quick to put his life on the line to help his friends and even total strangers.

Then we’ve got the heroine Dale. She’s also got a strict moral code that she lives by which she refuses to break. I do like when heroes have an honor code and the same goes for villains, but at the same time I do think she put herself in a pretty bad spot right from the start. Why promise the villain that you won’t try anything if you know that he’s gonna break his promise? Not going through with the poison plan was a bit iffy. Still, I guess Dale was a good character.

Then you’ve got Zarkov. He’s pretty strong willed and certainly has the deepest voice of the cast. That makes his scenes pretty fun even if the character himself can’t quite keep up with the rest. You can’t really forget that everyone’s in trouble because of him. He also is directly responsible for Flash losing round 1 so if he hadn’t made that mistake the heroes may have won a whole lot sooner than they did.

Next up is Aura who is the daughter of the main villain. Unlike Ming, she isn’t pure evil though. It may not be accurate to call her a pure hero at first as she saves Flash for her own reasons, but at the very least she doesn’t like his cruel methods. She definitely suffers the most from all the characters though and you’ll feel pretty bad for her during the various scenes. Her moments are the only parts where the film does tend to get pretty dark. Considering how much work she did to help the heroes I would have liked for her to have had a bit of a happier route. The torture scene was particularly brutal.

The villains definitely aren’t quite as solid as the villains. You’ve got Klytus who is Ming’s right hand man. He just wants to be with Aura though so that doesn’t make for the greatest villain motivation. He’s just petty and you can’t root for a villain like that. Then you’ve got Barin who likes tricking Klytus and not following his orders. This makes him look even worse to be honest. She’s not bad, but doesn’t really have much of a role next to the others.

Ming is the main villain and he’s one of those classic spoiled kings who can’t really fight much. He has a pretty OP ring which helps him fight a bit, but beyond that he is dependent on his allies. Considering that all of his allies are constantly looking for an excuse to betray him the guy can’t rest easy. In particular there are 2 generals who are always rebellious. First is Kala who doesn’t like Ming, but he’s too scared to do anything. He spends most of the film trying to destroy Flash and grumbling a lot before finally being forced on board. Likewise for Vultan who talks a big game but is too scared of Ming to do anything.

Actually maybe I should take that back because all of the villains in this film seem to be cowards. They probably wouldn’t even try betraying Ming if there was any chance of them getting caught. No wonder he enjoyed such a long stint as the leader. Good thing Flash came when he did eh?

The special effects have definitely aged pretty well. The space battles are a lot of fun and it feels like a scene from Star Wars. The music here is definitely pretty fun. The classic Flash song definitely pops up a lot and the timing is pretty solid. At one point the heroine asks rhetorically who could possible save them and then the song starts with the lyric “FLASH!!!” as he shows up in a meanwhile scene. The song loves to keep on repeating that lyric in particular so expect to hear it quite a lot as the film goes on.

In general the writing is pretty solid here as well. The character cast may not be amazing for the most part, but Flash and Aura are really all you need. The film’s pacing is pretty quick. It’s a long movie, but it doesn’t drag on. The romance may not be particularly solid, but it doesn’t play a big role in the film. It’s just kind of there to check off the box.

The film does end with a pretty cool cliffhanger as well. I imagine it probably won’t ever be resolved, but it was still neat to see. I think a nostalgia sequel could actually do pretty good so the film companies should definitely think about it. It may be hard to get a scene quite as cool as Flash using Football to take down the villains, but it’s worth the attempt.

Overall, Flash Gordon is a pretty good sci-fi film that holds up well. Any character who isn’t Flash will probably annoy you at times, but he puts them in their place. The film’s light, but can get a bit violent at times like in Flash’s spike battle. It’s really a film that can change elements at any given time which is pretty cool. If you haven’t seen this film yet then I would recommend checking it out. Just remember that Aura could have left at any time, but chose to be a hero and paid the price. She proved her heroism more than any other character except for Flash.

Overall 6/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Replicas Review


It’s time to look at a film that I really only knew of because everyone was constantly taking shots at it. I’m used to amazing films getting bad reviews so that’s not necessarily a bad thing, but on the other hand there are numerous films that are panned for good reason. You never know what it’s going to be like until you watch it. Replicas is definitely not a great film, but I wouldn’t call it terrible either. Yes, there are big plot holes and the characters can be weak, but at the same time the film avoids making “the big mistake.” It does have any soul destroying moments like some films tend to have so that’s good….right?

The film starts off with William having some trouble trying to set up his A.I. robot. He’s been trying to load a human consciousness into one, but they all reject the body and go away. The whole company is going to be shut down if he doesn’t get results soon so William decides to go on a vacation with his family. While his wife Mona tells him to slow down William has no time for such luxuries and speeds down a pitch black highway during a casual hurricane. Naturally he crashes in the water and his family all die. No worries though, William’s co-worker Ed has been cloning animals for years and cloning people is basically the same thing. They clone the family except for William’s youngest daughter since they ran out of tubes. William erases her memories from everyone else since the brain is really just one big computer chip and life goes on.

Unfortunately the numerous problems with this plan start to surface as people who have a real brain and aren’t clones remember that William used to have a daughter and wonder why nobody else remembers her. Then you’ve also got the fact that William’s company is actually an evil terrorist group who wants to use the clones to conquer the world. William’s gonna have to use his A.I. program to stop them, but as he does this he’ll have to wonder why he spent so many years working on a dead-end A.I. project when he could have been cloning people for big profits all this time.

Look…I know this film has dozens and dozens of plot holes and irrational character choices, but another way to look at it is that you’ve just got the least intelligent cast of characters out there. Look at it through that lens and then you’ll be fine. There are hundreds of ways that William could have handled the situation better. He could have actually told the family a lie that would hold up rather than counting on them to not notice that almost 3 weeks have passed. He could have remembered that they all had lives and let people know so it wouldn’t appear that they vanished. He….could have slowed down in the storm, etc. Keep in mind though that he’s a crazed genius who couldn’t make a robot. He spends the first half of the film refusing to make any choices so Ed has to do everything. He’s just not ready for this madness.

There’s less excuse for Jones and his gang though. There’s one scene where they’re chasing the heroes and the heroes run into a hospital to remove the GPS trackers in their body. Mona works at the hospital so at least it is believable that she would know how to do this. However the villains follow them in through the back but don’t bother going to the front to block the exit? They don’t even bother breaking the car so the heroes can’t drive away. None of it makes any sense. Then they have 0 reaction times when the robot appears. I’d also argue that William has no reason to show Jones mercy and make him rich by the end. Why? Why do this?

Ed’s a reasonable friend, but the kind of guy you ultimately can’t trust. He’ll help you out of course, but when the chips are down he falls like a log. He did almost all of the work so either way William would have been doomed without him I suppose. Mona is actually pretty smart compared to the other characters even if I’m not sure how much that means anything next to these guys. She notices that something is wrong and once she figures out the deception she rolls with it as best she can. Mona doesn’t freeze up or anything which is always crucial in high pressure situations. I get the feeling that she would have handled this better than William in general.

The special effects for the robot are pretty bad, but beyond that I thought the visuals were pretty sound. The writing may be pretty bad in terms of structure and logic, but the script could have been a lot worse. There are some reasonable funny scenes in the movie. While the intro is tragic the film doesn’t dwell on it too much. It also doesn’t go for the easy fanservice during the tube scenes which I’m definitely grateful for. I think a good chunk of what makes the film salvageable is the ending. The ending is on point and if it had ended in just about any other way I think the film would have had 0 chance of recovering. There are certain tragic elements that will just end a film if the ending doesn’t do something to help it.

Overall, Replicas was actually decently good. It was entertaining and actually did have a pretty compelling plot. There was no animal violence or anything real sketchy here. The plot holes are enormous and you will have a hard time believing that William is a genius, but the good part is that you’ll feel pretty proud of yourself as you imagine how many ways you could have done a better job. The film is a little long, but I wouldn’t say it drags much. The first half is just a little on the slow side, but the film definitely speeds up later on. Once the villains start appearing it almost feels like a completely different movie. I’d actually recommend checking this movie out, you may just be surprised at how you enjoy it.

Overall 6/10

Reviews, TV Show Reviews, TV Shows

A Certain Magical Index III Review


It’s time to look at the next season of Index and this one finally wraps up the original saga. We get a few different arcs here, but the big one is definitely World War III. Index is definitely a franchise that has gotten a lot of media over the years as the spinoff Railgun got 2 seasons, Accelerator is getting a show, and in general there have been a lot of novels and manga. It’s definitely a pretty fun series with a good plot even if it is held back quite a bit by the fanservice. That’s the case here as well as the first half of the season has quite a bit of this but then World War III gives us the best arc in the series. All in all, it’s a show worth checking out.

The first arc is about Touma heading over to France to recover the document of C. It’s a mass hypnosis document of sorts that has been used to turn everyone against Academy City. He’ll have to deal with Terra though, one of the 4 members of the Right Seat of God. Fortunately his old ally Itsuwa is here as well so together they’re able to fight a lot better than they could individually. They may also have more allies than they know.

There are a few mini arcs between the main ones with Accelerator and his group tracking down other nefarious groups. They seem to be trying to get other countries to fight against each other and to cause a divide in Academy City so they can’t let this happen. These arcs are usually only 2-3 episodes long, but they’re definitely quite solid. The whole vibe of the show feels so different here as it all takes place at night where the true Academy City shows its colors. Then you cut back to Touma and the happiness of the daytime. Academy City is definitely as shady as it gets.

Touma gets to fly to a few other countries to fight off the threats until we get to the big arc. The season ends with World War III. At last the tensions between the various countries have caused everyone to attack each other. At this point we’re following 3 different characters so there are a lot of plots to unpack here. While the 3 characters don’t all get to meet each other at the same time, each of them do meet the others individually. I suppose they’re probably saving a meeting of all 3 for the sequel show. Well, I’m not positive that Touma and Hamazura met here, but I think they did. Touma’s mission here is to take down Fiamma. Fiamma aims to crash a large meteor known as the Star of Bethlehem and basically wipe everyone out before saving the survivors with his power. Accelerator wants to find a cure for Last Order and also needs to stop a rampaging angel so Last Order will remain safe. Meanwhile Hamazura mainly wants to keep ITEM safe from the various government groups who are after them. They’ve all got different goals, but they end up at the same place.

One thing that’s always been very good about Index is the exposition. Exposition can be a mixed bag of course, but on the whole I tend to like it. Throwing info dumps around is a nice way to quickly expand the world. I know that for some it can just be rather boring, but I think that’s actually a rare case particularly if it’s about abstract concepts and lands as opposed to someone’s sob story. If it’s the latter then it’s gonna get pretty boring. Pretty much every character in Index goes on long winded rants about cosmic events, and various religious artifacts that have amassed a lot of power in a short amount of time. It’s cool to recognize the events that are being talked about even if they are not exactly accurate from real world events. They’ve gotta put that sci-fi spin on them after all.

Index has also gotten to the point where there are enough characters and plots for the series to really have fun mixing characters together. This is especially evident in one of the early mini arcs with Accelerator as you had 4-5 different factions running around. Even in the show various characters would start mixing up the groups. “You’re from ITEM!” “No, I’m from GUN.” “GUN is actually FORM” and stuff like that. It’s convoluted, but the more convoluted the better. It’s also pretty good for replay value. This is Index at its best, just throwing more and more info at you even during the battles.

Index definitely has its share of fun battles as well. For the most part Acelerator tends to have the best fight scenes although my overall favorite fight in the season was Acqua vs everyone. He was fighting off a whole army, Kanzaki, Touma, Itsuki, and a few others. That was just really impressive. The show does have a lot of plot hax with the fights though and probably has some of the more inconsistent power levels that I’ve seen. This is because Touma is the main character and that’s something that has always been a little dicey. Keep in mind that he is basically just a normal kid whose right hand can nullify all magic. That’s definitely very handy of course, but it doesn’t help against villains who have super speed and crazy attacks.

As a result his final fight in the series doesn’t really make any sense. Especially since the show went out of its way to stack the deck against him. Touma is standing on a pillar and there is nowhere to run or dodge to. His only real option is to fall to his doom and that’s not really much of a choice if we’re being honest here. Somehow during the fight he always lands on the same pillar though and Fiamma never thinks to just cut the pillar beneath him. There are hundreds of ways that should have been enough to beat Touma but it never happens. This is never really an issue with the other fighters as they all have super powers. Touma is really just the one who throws in the plot hax. I do think Acqua’s rival got a little nerfed by the end but that’s more debatable.

The animation may not be quite as impressive as Railgun or the earlier Index seasons, but it still has its moments. The company has been having quite a bit of trouble lately, but I’m sure they did their best. The fights that count still look really good and the openings look solid. In particular the final opening of the season is excellent and the best opening in the series. The animation style also does make Touma look a lot older. Not sure if it’s an intentional effect of the animation, but it does work pretty well since Touma acts a lot more mature than he used to be. He’s more of a hero here. In general the season also has a much darker look than the first two which makes sense since I’d call this the darkest season. As for the soundtrack, it’s pretty solid as well. My favorite theme only shows up once, but the rest of the battle themes are still pretty solid. The show definitely delivers on this front as well.

Now lets talk about the characters. Touma is the lead as always and I dare say that this is his best appearance. He makes a lot of good speeches as always and does a better job of keeping himself out of sticky situations. The first half of the season is still tough for him, but for the most part he stays strong. He’s also very resolute in trying to save Index after she is put in a dicey spot by Fiamma. He’s willing to make the heroic sacrifice when need be and in general is definitely a solid hero here. He may be a bit naive like with shooting Fiamma to Earth first, if the guy was still evil then he could simply start his murder spree all over again. Touma always believes in the good in people though which I suppose isn’t a bad thing.

Index doesn’t get a whole lot to do here. For most of the season she is stuck at home and once she enters the fray she is quickly taken right back out. She’s definitely a character who ultimately wasn’t that important in the series and could have been swapped out. Considering that she has a bunch of knowledge stored inside of her it would have been nice to have seen her finally fight for real at some point. Meanwhile Mikoto unfortunately also shares the same fate of not being very important in this season. If anything you could say that her role here is basically filler. She did finally learn about Touma’s amnesia, but doesn’t actually do anything with that knowledge so it doesn’t feel like this matters. She even lets him go off to a fight when she very easily could have followed him to try and help. She just accepts his decision to try and do everything on his own. It’s a noble call on Touma’s part, but as a real friend Mikoto should have absolutely stepped in to help instead of simply leaving. You know that Touma would have never just walked away.

Accelerator gets a pretty big role here and he’s definitely still one of the best characters. Before this season he actually was #1 but someone finally passed him, you’ll see who that is soon. Accelerator definitely looked awesome regardless though. While he still doesn’t like to be called a hero, his days of being a villain are basically over. Aside from one outburst he has where the guy almost turns back into his old self, Accelerator does a lot of good in this season. He saves a lot of prisoners on multiple occasions and does all he can to save Last Order. His abilities still seem to not have an upper limit so as the series progresses I expect he’ll become more and more valuable to the heroes. He’s definitely nobody’s pawn though and even when he’s tied up the guy is calling the shots. All of his scenes in this season are dynamite and it’s worth mentioning that all of his mini arcs were quite good.

As with Index, Last Order doesn’t get a whole lot of screen time here. Still, she’s reasonable enough I suppose and does her best not to be a burden. She just wants to have a peaceful life even if the government refuse to let that happen. Misaka Worst is a minor villain who shows up at one point, but seems to have become a bit of a supporting character. She’s definitely pretty cool and I’d like to see her fight more in the future. An evil version of Misaka is definitely a good idea and while her abilities don’t seem all that impressive, she was fighting Accelerator. Otherwise I’m sure she’d be doing quite well.

Monaka is an old lady who knows quite a lot because she was in a position of power for a long time. She’s retired, but the villains haven’t so people are still out for her life. As it stands she has a very painful time in the series as she gets shot and then has to shed some skin in order to help the heroes infiltrate the villain base. She’s not my favorite character though and takes a long time to make a decision. Meanwhile I still don’t like Tsuchimikado who is always acting vague and keeping secrets from Touma. He should just spill the beans already and comes across as a faker. At the end of the day he’s a government lackey more than he is a friend so he’s not someone that Touma should trust. He also doesn’t really have much of a power set so he’s not that good in a fight.

Itsuwa is one of the nuns who aids Touma when possible. Her abilities aren’t all that great, but she can definitely still fight and does aid Touma as best she can against Terra. The heroes are outmatched there, but she never gives up. She is around for several of the other fights as well. Terra is one of the big 4. He’s openly corrupt and enjoys harming everyone he fights against. He even brings innocent civilians into the mix which is something Acqua wouldn’t tolerate. Terra’s ability to change whatever matter is coming against him to 0 is very handy. It has some obvious weaknesses of course, but in a one on one fight it is very hard to see him losing. He made for a pretty good villain.

Then we have Acqua who is the best villain as well as the best character in the series. The voice that was chosen for him is perfect and I always like villains who have an honor code. He’s definitely a solid fighter and does realize when he is on the wrong side. Acqua bows to no one and makes time to help everyone he can. He even jumps to obscure towns to help fight off the government when possible while everyone else was busy dealing with the large scale threats. Acque goes where he is needed and the guy has a lot of determination. He’s one of the more impressive characters in the series and in a fight he can take down just about anyone. The guy’s also really knowledgeable which isw helpful since in Index you need to be able to comprehend all of these abilities and traps very quickly.

Vento is another one of the four. She appeared in season 2 and doesn’t have much of a role here, but she does show up for a fight real quick. Her opponent quickly takes advantage of her big weakness though and that is the fact that she fights with a cross in her mouth. There’s a lot of ways that this can go wrong and it gets pretty violent for her. In general Vento just doesn’t seem as impressive as the other 3 although her large constructs are pretty handy for defense. I can’t say that she’s one of my favorite members of the four though.

Finally you’ve got Fiamma who probably gets the biggest role of the 4. He is debatably the main villain of the series after all. His right hand is similar to Touma’s except that it destroys anything that it touches rather than nullifying it. He makes for a good villain and the guy is definitely very confident. He makes a lot of plans and always has backup ideas as well so taking him out of the picture is not an easy task by any stretch of the imagination.

Hamazura is not quite as heroic as Touma but makes more of an effort than Accelerator. At the end of the day he’s fine with murdering people and doing what he has to in order to protect his comrades. He’s not particularly invested in the missions so much as he just wants to protect his friends. He’s a fun character to have around but he’s definitely a lot more iffy than the other characters. He tends to make some dicey comments and is usually guilty of getting himself in trouble. Nobody to blame but himself in these cases. I also think his decision to try and team up with Mugino at the end was super risky and realistically they all should have been blown up at that point.

Etzali is a pretty interesting character and his plot probably gets the least amount of screen time here. He has a backstory involving him being a part of a shady organization from a while ago. It seems like they got even worse after he left as now they force their memebers to turn into monsters while trying to wield super powers. He definitely got out at the right time. This part never really gets any closure and I wonder if it would probably get finished in the sequel series or something.

Awaki doesn’t do a whole lot here, but her teleporting is definitely as handy as ever. It’s a great ability to have and really lets you bypass a whole lot of security measures that you would have to deal with otherwise. She gets a pretty fun fight against one of the villains. Really there are a lot of extra villains I won’t be mentioning here because the season has a ton, but I’ll still be mentioning the big ones at least.

One of those is Kakine. He’s the second ranked Level 5 esper and his abilities are pretty nice. He’s able to keep up with Accelerator to an extent after all and that’s not something that just anyone could do. He’s a pretty solid villain and gives Accelerator a really good fight. He certainly did better than the other teleporting guy as there Accelerator was winning without his powers for the most part. Either way Accelerator wasn’t about to lose here though.

Takitsubo spends most of the season knocked out or injured. She’s not quite as good as Last Order or Index, but she isn’t bad. the girl means well even if she is a little out of her league here. With crazy strong individuals running all around the place her enhancement pills are good, but they just won’t cut it. Then you’ve got Mugino who used to be the determined leader of ITEM, but now she’s gone completely crazy. She seems to be losing her sense of self as she becomes more and more like a zombie. In her final form she is barely even alive anymore. It’s interesting seeing her as a total villain, but that’s why it is pretty hard to accept her turning at the end. She brutally took care of Frenda after all..how do you come back from that? Kinuhata doesn’t get nearly as much of a role as the others, but she’s definitely a fun villain. Her abilities are handy and in a 1 on 1 fight she’s probably the only one who could possibly hold her own against Mugino.

Well, Frenda also doesn’t get much of a role here. She meets her fate pretty early on. She’s always been a fun character so it was unfortunate to see this happen to her. She probably should have tried to escape or stayed strong earlier, but I guess she probably never suspected that things would escalate so quickly. Then you’ve got Lessar who joins the cast near the end. She seems pretty crazy and while the character had potential at first she goes off the deep end later on. Lessar becomes incredibly obsessed with Touma and basically loses all of her potential. A shame that her character arc had to go that way.

Meanwhile you’ve got Aleister who is still as mysterious as ever. He doesn’t do much here so that’ll probably be saved for the sequel. He’s still content to watch everything from his water jar. Then you’ve got his alien double running around who seems to be a 4D being who can barely even talk in a way that humans can comprehend him. It’s hard to say where they are going with him, but his plans seem super risky. He needs Touma alive and yet there are so many times where the hero nearly died. You’d think he would pay a little more attention in that case right? When the double does show up he tends to be pretty invincible so far. Only Accelerator likely has much of a chance against him unless they can get Touma to grab him. It’ll definitely be tough though.

Then you’ve got some of the season 1 cast running around. Kanzaki definitely isn’t as impressive as she used to be. She seems to lose every important fight that she gets into here. I suppose the power creep was just too intense. She’s still a good character, but one that desperately needs a power up. Hopefully she will get that soon and she also needs to stop letting Tsuchimikado troll her all the time. Then you’ve got Stiyl who I never found to be all that impressive anyway. He does a good job against Index…but it’s Index. He seems to be a little too obedient though. Kanzaki disobeys the group when she feels like it, but so far Stiyl hasn’t done that. You’d think that he would be ready to ditch the group since they were prepared to end Index. He’s friends with Index right? A threat like that should make him take notice.

Carissa is my favorite of the various princesses. While her methods may be a bit extreme, she is definitely looking out for Britain in a way that the others clearly aren’t. Her abilities are pretty impressive since she wields a sword that gives her an incredible amount of power. She has a lot of fire and determination. Carissa also does battle with some other princesses who look pretty cool but we never get to learn much about them. Then you’ve got the Knight Leader who was able to do battle with Acqua on even ground. After that fight he never looks quite as impressive again, but it was still a great role and he was one of the best villains here.

As mentioned the series’ only real weakness is the fanservice. It pretty much vanishes after the first half although then you’ve got Lessar trying to mess with Touma in World War III. Her scenes quickly become annoying. The season felt a little more violent than the last two, but it’s hard to say for sure since it’s been a while since I saw season 2. At the very least you can expect the characters to really go through the wringer here. Several characters are shot point blank and others take so many injuries that they basically bleed out. It’s definitely no Titan, but it does get a little intense here. The scene has some pretty shocking moments like when Mugino took out Frenda. You just wouldn’t have thought that something like this would happen so it changes the whole dynamic of the show up to that point.

While I wouldn’t go as far as calling the whole show very dark, there are moments where it gets pretty serious. Going back to the animation style, it works really well as a result because while the first two seasons were pretty optimistic, here everyone is quickly forced to adjust to the situation. It’s war now and the casualties start to build up. There are moments of levity here and there, but the season maintains a steady serious tone. By and large this season probably works as a good example of a “dark” show that isn’t super gritty. It’s always hard to maintain that balance and to this day Madoka Magica is the best example of it.

The pacing of the season is definitely very fast. The events really go by in a flash so you want to absorb everything you can right away. It does help the series always stay exciting though. With the exception of the early Touma episodes, there is always something happening around the corner. There are so many groups and villains that you’re always wondering who is going to show up next. It’s a really good thing if you ask me. There are some fights that I would have liked to have been a little longer like Touma vs Accelerator, but as it stands most of the fights seem to last for a good amount of time.

Overall, Index Season 3 was definitely a good way to wrap up the series. World War III definitely felt like the big climactic event that it was supposed to be. Everyone got to throw their hat in the ring and we got a lot of cool fights and plots going. The season does get hurt a bit by the first half which suffers from the usual issues, but it’s still a good season in the end. You’ll probably have a better time if you watch the other two seasons first since you’ll really be able to appreciate all of the storylines, but I think you’d be able to hang in there with this season if you follow all the exposition. Just try to keep all of the names straight.

Overall 6/10

Reviews, TV Show Reviews, TV Shows

Future Card Buddyfight Ace Review


Buddyfight never hit it off quite as well as Cardfight but it still did last for an impressive amount of time. It got several seasons with the original cast and then we got this one, a sequel sort of like Cardfight G. It’s definitely not quite at the level of the first set of series but as you have to get used to a whole new set of characters it is rare for this to be the case anyway. As it stands, this is still a great show and I was sad to see it go. I’m sure the next arc would have been pretty epic and with more time the ending probably wouldn’t have been so rushed.

The plot follows a kid named Yuga Mikado. He is the son of Gao Mikado but for reasons that are never explained and make no sense Gao never introduced him into the world of Buddyfight despite being the world champion. I guess we have to assume that Gao just never went back home because it sure seems like Yuga doesn’t really know the guy. Still, Yuga prides himself on being the ace of games. He just tends to be very good at whatever he does and even has a Paltube account to document his experiences along with his friend Ranma. One day Ranma gets Yuga into the world of Buddyfight and his world changes forever.

The first episodes are mainly for introducing the other characters who I will talk about in a bit. The actual plot mainly revolves around a big tournament that is coming up. The champion will be considered to be the best in Japan. Yuga is definitely ready to claim victory but Ranma realizes that the gap between them is steadily growing. As a result he decides to turn to the powers of darkness to make a comeback. He decides that crushing Yuga is what he has to do and they can’t be friends until that happens. Meanwhile his buddy has plans to destroy the world and Yuga’s Buddy Garga may be Earth’s best hope against him. Can Buddyfight really solve all of their problems?

The show definitely starts out pretty strong thanks to having a pretty well rounded cast of characters. Aside from Ranma most of the other characters tend to be pretty solid. It’s also cool to have the heroes grow up in the same city as the originals but I do think we should have gotten more guest star appearances. I understand the logic of keeping them away during the first season and Cardfight did that as well, but it’s always a lot of fun to see the old gang band together one more. Surely at least Gao should have shown up at some point.

I suppose this does mean that the show has to succeed or fail on its own merits though. The animation is definitely pretty sharp. The energy effects are really on point. While I don’t think it beats the top Buddyfight animations, it is definitely up there. The show looks really clear and all of the scenes flow well. It’s always pretty consistent and definitely works to enhance the experience. Then we’ve got the soundtrack which is definitely dynamite. This is one of those series where all of the main characters get their own theme which is cool. I think it’s a nice touch and really lets you get into the heat of the duel. The best theme is actually Ranma’s. It’s a really solid villain theme and definitely gets across the despair of facing off against him.

So let’s talk about the characters. Light is probably the character who shows up the most yet gets the smallest role. He duels maybe two times in the show and spends most of it just watching the other characters. Being a spy is his job so it makes sense I suppose but I feel like he should have done more. His plot of resenting Gaito a bit also came out of nowhere considering how much he also likes Buddyfight.

Then we’ve got Yuga who is the actual main character. He’s definitely a fun guy who is always looking on the positive side of things. As the Ace of Games he also has his competitive side as well. That being said, Yuga is probably the best loser that I’ve seen. He never even comes close to being upset at anything. Even when Ranma turns evil and starts hurling insults 24/7 Yuga just shrugs them off and keeps claiming that the two are still friends. Yuga may be a bit exaggerated in that respect but it is a really nice change of pace to have a lead who just refuses to acknowledge his friend’s betrayal. Even as Ranma continued to get worse and worse Yuga keeps their friendship. He’s definitely a great lead and whenever he puts on the headphones you know that he is getting serious.

Masato is the Ace of Sports and one of the main fighters here. He fights with the Link Order Dragons. While sports are his favorite thing to do he also does enjoy Buddyfight quite a bit. He is able to hold his own with just about anyone in a fight. His backstory is pretty good although to an extent all 3 characters have a similar one. They were all friends with someone who turned evil and needed to be dueled out of it. Masato even has his own winning cheer. I feel like it probably just adds salt to the wound for the foes he defeated but since he died the cheer no matter the outcome you know it isn’t personal.

Then we have the Ace of study, Subaru. He’s a little more aloof than the others, but isn’t mean as you might expect from the rivals. He just likes Buddyfighting and studying and quickly makes friends with the others as a result. He’s not quite as interesting as the others as a result, but his skills are definitely the real deal. His Buddy can predict the future which is handy, but whenever Subaru is going to lose he suddenly can’t see the future which is a little too convenient. It is what it is I suppose. Subaru comes up with an infiltration plan in the second half of the series which was an interesting idea, but I don’t think he pulled it off too well. Still, he always made it pretty far in his duels.

Tasuku is really the only old character with an active role so he’s repping the old characters. He only gets to duel 2-3 times but it is definitely fun to see him get in on the action. He’s still got his Jackknife Dragon at the ready and their retro combos. As the police chief he can’t be quite as reckless as he used to be and seems to follow regulations more. While he may not be quite as much fun as when he was a kid, Tasuku is still a quality character. He is ultimately the one who comes up with the super weapon that plays a key role in saving the world.

Dan or Da Dan as they call him is the main comic relief villain in the series. He has his own Pal Tube account and likes to mess with the heroes. He can’t fight as well as the others for a while, but he never gives up. How much you like him will definitely depend on if you like this kind of character but I thought he was pretty reasonable. He actually did put up a great fight against Ranma in the end. Dan was really close to winning that one and it’s crazy to think on how different the series would have been if he succeeded. Dan also probably had the toughest time out of all the characters since he was effectively trapped for a long while.

Garga is Yuga’s buddy and he is a very formal dragon deity. He’s one of the strongest monsters in all of Buddyworld so the guy has a lot of experience under his belt. He surprisingly has things under control from start to finish and doesn’t go through the whole “Yuga needs to prove himself worthy!” plot. He definitely gets a little more comfortable with the heroes towards the end and even starts filming Paltube videos. From the various main buddies through the years he is definitely one of the best ones. His decisions on how to handle the situation with Vile Demonic Dragon were also the right ones. Garga really hits all the right notes. He’s a dependable ally and a great friend.

Banjoe is one of the supporting characters who is around at times. He’s your classic punk character, but he doesn’t get a whole lot to do compared to the others. He’s a reasonable fighter and has a decent character arc, but I don’t think you’ll be remembering this guy much. Ion is the new announcer, but she definitely doesn’t have the memorable charisma that Paruko had. Mel is a girl who likes to sleep a lot and doesn’t have the bravery needed to talk to Subaru. That’s not really what I want to see in my favorite characters so you can tell that she was one of the weaker ones.

Mamoru is a nice homage to Ultraman so he’s a fun guy to see. You sort of know that he’s doomed in the duels since he just feels like a one shot character, but the fact that he can actually fight in the real world is definitely pretty cool. Miko is a supporting character who appears quite a lot. She owns a pizza shop and always treats the main cast to free pizza every other episode. I do think she is probably losing out on a lot of profits here, but I can’t really fault her for treating her friends right? She may not be too outgoing, but her buddy isn’t afraid to take control of her body and fire energy blasts at opponents who get too close. Miko can fight when in a pinch as well so you definitely don’t want to count her out.

Now it’s time to take a look at the main villains. One of these guys is Daijiro. He’s Masato’s main rival. Aces decided to give each of the main 3 heroes a rival so they all pair up nicely in the final tournament. Daijiro is super competitive like Masato, but winning is all that he cares about. This naturally led to a rift developing between the two characters. Daijiro has a pretty reasonable deck and I do like him as a villain. He’s one of those guys who still follows an honor code and that’s something I always like to see with these characters.

Then we’ve got Seiji who is the more cunning villain. He’s not direct like Daijiro and likes to pit characters against each other and watch the fireworks. When this doesn’t go well then his confidence fades fast though which is definitely his weakness. He’s also a little more petty and easily manipulated by Ranma and the others. I always like the dynamic of a sub villain who wants to betray the leader, but you never really feel like he’s going to come out on top. Seiji really isn’t that kind of villain and he gets too emotional to really be much of a leader. I do like him as a villain though.

Naturally then we have Ranma. Unfortunately..he’s the weakest of the main 3 villains. He starts out as Yuga’s best friend, but quickly gets jealous when the hero gets the most OP buddy in the game. Ranma sulks quite a bit as other people become Yuga’s friend and he really wants to be the hero’s only friend. You can see the warning bells right away here. Ranma succumbs to darkness in order to beat Yuga and does finally get his own buddy. However, instead of being grateful for that he turns into a full blown villain. He goes so far off the deep end that it’s hard to buy his inevitable redemption arc. He even gets over the fact that his buddy murdered one of his teammates. The last episode feels really rushed in this respect and since it looks like we might not get a season 2 that’s going to make it even harder to like the guy. You can sometimes make a big betrayal like this work (ex: Sasuke) but you can’t do it like this. The motivation is extremely important and Ranma’s is petty at best.

Ranma’s buddy is pretty cool though. Vile Demonic Dragon will remind you of Azi Dahaka from the original series. This guy has big plans and he has quite a few different super forms at his disposal. There’s one part where he fights alongside his super form and it makes for really cool visuals. Realistically you should never lose when this guy is your buddy. Of course, he wasn’t exempt from the cheesy end either. It’s hard to buy this guy wanting to be a nicer monster after all of his tough talk. I do like the idea of a bond between him and Ranma, but he just shouldn’t be willing to join the heroes so quickly. Also, how did he get out of jail so quickly? Even if it was for good behavior, you’d think it would take years and not a few weeks. Maybe the Buddypolice do some brainwashing?

One character that the show was probably a little too misleading on was Rei Urameshi though. He was seen as a very mysterious figure for most of the final tournament. The build up gets to the point where you start to actually look forward to his debut. Unfortunately he then shows up as a comic relief villain. This doesn’t have to be a bad thing as I thought Dan was handled well, but he’s just pretty annoying. It’s hard to go for that complete 180 and succeed. Either you like the twist or you don’t, but it definitely didn’t work for me. I was hoping for someone who was a little more impressive.

Buddyfight Aces definitely wastes no time in making the monsters pretty OP here though. By the end of the series there are quite a few fighters who could probably hold their own against the strongest fighters in the original series. The power creep gets incredible particularly for Yuga and Ranma. There’s no way they can realistically lose to anyone now. Yuga is not even the strongest and he can launch almost 10 consecutive attacks with his combo. If you don’t have a bunch of shields then you can expect an instant loss. Ranma’s attacks are even more devastating as even when he loses all of his life points you have to beat his monster around 15-20 times in order to beat him. In a normal duel you are definitely not getting that many attacks before you lose. Ranma may get lonely at the top now, but he has finally gotten his wish to be the best. Hopefully he makes the most of it.

Aces definitely had a really solid run, but it feels like the season was cancelled or at least had to end a little sooner than expected. The last episode is just crazy sudden and moves at a lightning pace. Quick pacing isn’t inherently bad of course, but when you have multiple villains who have to pull a 180 in the span of a single episode that really isn’t going to work well. If there was going to be a season 2 I feel like the ending would have been quite different. The Dragon would have escaped and Garga would have pursued him. This would lead to Yuga deciding to follow him into another world and of course then there would be a bunch of other monsters. Maybe Gao would also show up to save his son. A lot of potential there that we might never see.

In the end I would say that the character roster is a little weaker than the original Buddyfight’s, but at the same time the core characters are mainly good. The supporting ones are more hit or miss. The villains are probably more solid all around although with the main villain not being too high that does limit the others a bit. The dueling is on point as always though and with the power creep it would have been fun to have seen what they’d do in season 2. I feel like Garga would have lost his form change ability or something to make Yuga have to work for his wins a little more. Alternately everyone’s gonna have multiple flags at the ready.

Overall, Buddyfight Aces is definitely a great show. It’s very focused on developing the characters but throws in a lot good duels and action in the meantime. It’s a shame that it looks like it won’t get a follow up season though. Typically the second season is when the plot would really get going and we would start to see more guest stars. Still, it’ll definitely hold up very well as a one shot title, particularly if you look at it more like a stand alone than as a sequel. It’s a Cardfighting show, how can you not love it?

Overall 8/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

White Lightning Review


It’s time to look at one of those old films where you wonder who to root for because everyone is pretty corrupt. As you can expect this one wasn’t exactly a winner for me. It’s not an abysmal film or anything like that, but at the same time there isn’t much to it. It’s a pretty simple plot, but no part of it is really well executed. As a result you’ll find yourself feeling like something is missing.

The film starts off with two teens being murdered by the sheriff and some loyal minions. We then cut away to the main character, Gator. He’s currently doing hard time for distributing illegal drinks. Gator then learns that his brother is one of the teens who was murdered so he makes a deal with the cops. He gets to leave jail early but in exchange he’ll find some evidence on the corrupt sheriff so the cops can take him away. The cops like this deal and set him loose. While this mission should be easy, Gator starts to sympathize with the crooks and now he isn’t sure if he should put them away. Still, he’ll take down the Sheriff!

Gator is a really bad main character. Now, you can certainly understand why he wants to get revenge on the sheriff. That’s pretty reasonable, but Gator decides to go about doing this in the worst ways possible. For starters when he gets into town one of the first things he does is to confront the sheriff passive aggressively. By this, I mean that he drives up to the guy and just stares at him. Part of the point of this ordeal is to make his co-driver sweat it out since Gator is basically blackmailing him at this point and the sheriff could shoot them all on sight. What did this act accomplish though? All it did was put Gator on the guy’s and if not for his plot shield that would be it for Gator.

Gator does a lot of nonsensical things like this throughout the film. Then when you thought things couldn’t get worse he decides to cheat on one of the crooks with the guy’s girl. Again….why would he do that? Clearly Gator doesn’t respect the other guy at all. It’s an excuse for some quick romance which ultimately doesn’t add anything to the movie. Beyond Gator, the rest of the characters are all crooks so there are no other heroes. Even the cops who show up from time to time to blow Gator’s cover seem like bad apples. They come in with an attitude and then storm off when Gator talks to them. Nobody’s reasonable here.

Of course Connors (The sheriff) is your average bad guy so he just likes walking around and terrorizing everyone. Some senior citizens try to play dumb when he shows up and he doesn’t spare any mercy for them either. You’re either with Connors or you’re against him. It’s definitely interesting how the cops can’t do anything about him though. The guy doesn’t seem like he covers his tracks all that well and the whole town is pretty up front with their illegal activities. I think if the cops had tried a little harder they should have been able to crack this case without Gator.

There aren’t any nice visuals to distract you with either as the film takes place in an old town. Everything’s pretty grungy so you certainly won’t be seeing any technology running around. The film’s supposed to keep you engaged with Gator’s quest for evidence, but this doesn’t work either since the main character doesn’t want to find any evidence. He just wants to take Connors down for the count and I doubt that arresting him was ever really part of the goal. He’s just lucky that everyone kept on sparing him the whole time instead of shooting on sight. His final plan takes forever and a day to finally get started.

The final car chase is good at least though. We get to see the characters put the pedal to the mettle as they chase each other around for a while. You can probably guess how the chase will end, but it’s still an action scene at last. Before that we do get a full action scenes and even a fight, but this was the car chase that we needed. It’s not enough to save the film of course, but at least this way we don’t have to end on a sour note.

It’s a shame that the cops ignored the town because it seems like it was definitely pretty rough for everyone in it. They probably should have moved away, but of course that is never possible for everyone. At first you think that Connors and his gang are at least nice rulers to those who follow the rules, but based on how they act later on it seems like they also just like to terrorize people for kicks. They get away with a whole lot and even by the end of the film you wonder how much has really changed. Even without the head honcho we know that a bunch of other people were also corrupt so hopefully those guys were taken down too.

Overall, White Lightning is definitely a film where I’d recommend skipping it. The character cast is weak and the film does tend to drag on a bit. Not having a good main character definitely hurt this movie right from the start and it only gets weaker from there. Even the teens who died at the beginning don’t sound like they were all that smart. When you live in a town controlled by the villains it probably isn’t the best time to exercise your right to free speech. If you want to watch a grim tale of tragedy and revenge then this is the one for you. If you want a movie with a better main character then check out the original Mission Impossible instead.

Overall 3/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Avengers: Endgame Spoiler Review


It’s been a little while so I think everyone’s had a chance to see Endgame by now. In case you haven’t, well this review is all about the spoilers. I’ve put it in the title and I’m buying time in this intro paragraph so you’ve been duly warned. There was a lot to talk about in this movie. I won’t talk much about what I already mentioned in the other review except for things I couldn’t expand on. Likewise I’ll be skipping the movie summary. In effect this is more of a look-back than a review, but it’s close enough.

The movie definitely did deliver on being a climactic experience to the films building up to this one. It was a nice trip down memory lane when the heroes time traveled to the previous films. I thought it was all handled really well there and I was also glad that the original Captain America was able to beat up the newer more jaded version. The original was always fighting and honing his skills while the newer version didn’t have time for that. Loki escaping during this sequence is also interesting. In a way that doesn’t mean he should appear in the main timeline but with how the film handled Cap then maybe he could.

The basic time travel theory used in the film is like DBZ’s. When you go back in time and make a change it doesn’t affect your timeline, but creates a new one. So that’s why the heroes had to bring the stones to the present and then bring them right back to the old places. It’s a pretty good plan and I also like the time travel theory. If time travel were to ever exist this is how I picture it would work. The main problem is with Captain America. At the end of the film he heads off to the past and then returns to the present as an old man. Based on the rules of time travel established in the film that should not have happened. I’ve heard a lot of theories about it and all, but to me they don’t make sense. He should have returned in a completely different timeline.

The climax is definitely excellent as we get to see all of the heroes duke it out. Of course you do have to hold a little disbelief that none of the heroes dies during this big war battle though. At the very least you’d expect a bunch of the B and C tier heroes to die off. It’s more about spectacle than accuracy though which is fine. Scarlet Witch definitely got her due respect here as she was pretty easily overpowering Thanos. With her abilities having matured this much the writers will have to be careful with how they handle her going forward. Likewise, Captain Marvel was also dominating Thanos when she showed up although her role is very small in the film. He also did get a good hit so it’s not as if she is invincible, but I do think it’s fair to say that she is easily the strongest Avenger.

Captain America gets his big moment in the climax with the hammer which was mixed. On one hand it is certainly a really cool visual and it’s a nice pay off for long time Cap fans. On the other hand he looked way too good with it. Not only did he master the abilities, but he was doing a better job against Thanos than Thor was. It was a little cheesy if I’m being honest. Still, the climax is all about seeing everyone’s favorite heroes get their shot at Thanos and the other enemies so I guess it makes sense. Either way it isn’t a climax that you would soon forget and I think that’s definitely important.

We gotta cut away to some of the negatives now though. For starters, the entire Thor plot. Making him incredibly overweight as an easy comedy joke was not a good move. You should never sacrifice character development for humor. Thor has been through a whole lot and always comes out of the ordeal stronger. I don’t see him giving up like this and completely abandoning everyone. Then he’s stuck like that for the whole film which is annoying, especially since it wrecks all of his scenes against Thanos. You just can’t take him seriously anymore.

The first few minutes of Endgame are definitely the best in the sense that all of the potential was still there. Everyone was in their proper designs and we were gonna get the big rematch with Thanos. It was nice to see a peaceful Thanos who was finally the victor. If anything you feel bad for him when the Avengers break into his house and murder him. I think I’m one of the only people who really didn’t approve of this. Thor murdering him was a bad scene for me. Thanos was already defenseless and couldn’t hurt anyone. I can see the heroes taking the kill if it was still in the moment and he had just snapped everyone then it would at least make sense. Like this it’s just an empty scene showing how far gone the Avengers are at this point.

Most of them are just focused on revenge at this point like Hawkeye, Black Widow, Thor, and Captain America. It’s hard to even call them heroes for the opening scene. I’d say that Captain Marvel is at least approaching this from a more emotionless perspective. She’s definitely one of the highlights here though. Meanwhile, Hawkeye is another character who was wrecked. He really went off the deep end here and super suddenly too. Shouldn’t he have at least gone to the Avengers to try and think of ideas? Again, without Ant Man the heroes gave up awfully fast. We know who the real Avenger here is.

Meanwhile, Hulk was definitely a lot of fun. While he doesn’t get any fights and will always be remembered as the guy who got schooled by Thanos, I do like that he has embraced this and doesn’t fight anymore. Now he’s around for the solid humor scenes and giving people lunch. It’s actually handled pretty well and the facial expressions just make him a pretty fun character. I actually wouldn’t mind if he sticks like this.

Iron Man’s ending is handled pretty well too. His character is a bit up and down here as he definitely sulks a lot in the first half, but once the team goes on the mission he’s back to being the charismatic character that he usually is. He does pretty well in the action scenes as well. I do think he had more drive and determination in Infinity War, but the stakes were a lot higher there of course.

Meanwhile Thanos is still a great, but tragic character. From his point of view it’s almost like the Avengers are cheating. He won 5 years ago and now they’re messing with time to stop him. He does a good job of bringing in the whole army to put a stop to this even if the heroes still ended up overwhelming him. Naturally I won’t go as far as to say that I was rooting for him, but he was definitely a great villain and did a great job of taking on whole groups of heroes. It’s really impressive just how much he was able to accomplish on his own.

The film has a lot of “cheer” moments, but there was one in particular that I thought the movie completely messed up. It’s the classic “Avengers Assemble” line that the fans have been waiting for. We finally get it here, but the execution is just weird as Cap says the assemble part really low. I think they were going for a dramatic pause between the two words, but the second should have been delivered with a lot of power. Not the weak whimper that we got. The other cheer moment is handled a lot more explosively as all of the female heroes band together to help Captain Marvel. Sure, this one’s a little cheesy since if anything all those heroines are doing is slowing Marvel down, but it’s the thought that counts. The first scene just didn’t have any energy.

I don’t think Endgame is nearly as sad as everyone makes it out to be since over 90% of the cast have happy endings and it’s still half comedy as with all Marvel titles. On the other hand that’s not a bad thing (It’s probably a good thing) since that means the film doesn’t slow itself down a lot. It also helps for re watches to keep the movie fast paced. The banter and writing are as solid as always and that’s really the core of the Endgame experience. Even if you get annoyed at a lot of the film’s decisions it won’t change the fact that you had fun.

So Endgame ends the era on a bittersweet note. On one hand it is definitely still a very good movie and it does really nail the appropriate tone for such an epic climax. On the other hand, it could have been so much better that I don’t think I’ll ever be able to look at it as anything but a missed opportunity. There were a million better ways the film could have played out, but ultimately we’re stuck with this one. I also don’t think Marvel will be able to set up such a grand stage again for a very long time, likely at least 6-10 years. Then we may get another shot like this, but in the meanwhile I suppose it’s time for the waiting game to begin. If you haven’t seen the film yet then you should probably do so to help the film claim the #1 spot. You’ll also enjoy it a lot since the storylines building up to this title should already have you invested. At the end of the day it’s impressive how long this movie saga lasted.

Overall 7/10